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2018年3月23日 星期五

吳素琴 Maggie Wu《側寫蕭勤 The Side View of Hsiao Chin》


側寫蕭勤     吳素琴  撰文


藝術家的個性當中總帶著某種程度的自虐性,是不是這種個性才讓他們有更敏銳的感受與創造力?一個有創造能力的藝術家,他天賦的直覺,使藝術家永遠走在別人之前,走在時代之前,替別人開拓新的道路,給別人新的啟發。

1989年蕭勤在丹麥哥本哈根與義大利藝術家、丹麥藝術家一起組成畫會,發起「國際SHAKTI」(炁)運動,SHAKTI就是「精神能量」的意思,第一屆「Shakti」於哥本哈根展出ㄝ之後在丹麥和義大利辦了好幾個展覽。

「炁-精神能量」代表宇宙中無所不在的生命力,自然的造化之功則是「炁-精神能量」之生機與泉源之所在。蕭勤從「道法自然」的角度來觀察,以對「炁-精神能量」的詮釋與演繹用繪畫讓它具有活潑多變的面貌。因而以『精神能量』為此次在
 荷軒新藝空間個展之展名。蕭勤以他帶著東方內涵作為底蘊的畫作,在國際藝術的領域裡奠定了屬於他自己的藝術創作之版圖。且容我輕輕帶領大家窺看藝術家走過的路途,無論是早期的京劇人物系列乃到深受藏家喜愛的度大限、禪、炁和宇宙風景系列。

1952年是他真正踏入藝術世界的開端,進入了李仲生畫室習畫,接受李仲生對現代畫會觀念的指導,李先生採取個別教學法,以啟發個人特質的方式從每個人不同的性格出發,讓潛在的傾向和能力發揮在作品上,鼓勵每個人探尋不同的面貌,創造出自我的風格。引導蕭勤於1950年代中期發展出最初之抽象作品。

1957年在首屆的「東方畫展」中,擔任重要的推動和主軸角色,在他剛到歐洲沒多久,就為剛成立的「東方畫會」這一群夥伴們在歐洲各地舉辦了13次的聯展。 一個人背著2、30張的集體畫作,搭乘火車穿梭在歐洲的國家,從一個城市趕到另一個城市,不停的與觀眾、藝術愛好者、藝術工作者交流。這種熱忱!他自己形容「像是帶著一種使命感」在進行著。這個活動直至1971年12月宣告「東方」使命已完成解散。前後多達15年。更由此,我確確在蕭老師身印證了這個自虐性之特質。誠如蕭老師在2013年台北美術館『非形之形』的抽象藝術聯展上致詞所言:「抽象藝術是從台灣出發並引導著中國的發展」,如果稱他是『中國抽象藝術之父』,亦不為過。

1956年二十歲出頭的蕭勤得到了西班牙政府所提供的留學生獎學金,他背起行囊踏上征途,前往地球的另一端,期盼在完全陌生的國度開展出一條屬於自我的藝術道路。然而;馬德里和巴塞隆納的藝術學院不脫保守、傳統的教學方式卻讓他感到失望。因此; 他決定放棄留學生獎學金補助,以自己的方式在陌生的國度裡進行自我學習。1960年代,蕭勤遷居義大利,再次展開新的藝術探險之旅,在道家思想中建立自我的觀點,並與志同道合的藝術家朋友,在米蘭發起「龐圖國際藝術運動」(Punto),

「龐圖」一詞翻譯自義大利語「PUNTO」,原意為「點」,傳達藝術作為靜觀和內省思想的主張,認為藝術應從個人的思想體悟出發,作為人類精神傳遞的媒介。在談這個運動之前,必須先談談當時西方的藝壇情況及蕭勤藝術思想上的轉變。

五○年代是歐洲非形象主義及美國行動繪畫風靡的時期,這個本來充滿生命活力的西方藝術運動,到了五○年代末期時,已漸漸淪為毫無控制的感性發洩或技巧遊戲,漸漸失去原有的精神深度及活力。這當然也反映出已在蔓延中西方社會裡消費主義社會心態的危機。同時有許多藝術家已經對“非形象主義”的氾濫有不同的意見。因此在當時於米蘭,他遇到了幾個志同道合的藝術家朋友們,他們就是卡爾代拉拉、吾妻兼治郎和李元佳。抵制非形象底感性的泛濫及走向更深層面精神性底追求。他們的宣言很精簡:「觀念的純粹性及創作的理由,是在於了解在“無限”中之“有限”的條件,其思想的現實性及對生命真諦之領悟」。「人」即是在無限宇宙中之有限的條件,藝術工作者應是人類的精神先知及其思想的代言者;因此,他對思想的探討、精神的追求及生命之領悟,應先於他人;這樣他才能將之傳送給別人,為人類精神進化盡一份天職。「PUNTO-龐圖」國際藝術運動跨越了1960年代,參與的藝術家來自全球多國,對於推動中西的藝術交流的成效毋庸置疑。「PUNTO-龐圖國際藝術運動」起始於米蘭,其後逐步拓展至其他歐洲城市。1962年在巴塞隆納舉行的「龐圖二展」規模龐大,參展者來自11國,共26位藝術家。

「PUNTO-龐圖國際藝術運動」同時亦是東西方藝術家及藝術組織的交流平台,蕭勤因而與歐洲多位國際藝術家建立了深厚友誼,更與義大利空間主義大師封塔納(Lucio Fontana)結下忘年之交,曾多次慷慨借出作品參展「PUNTO-龐圖國際藝術運動」,以其盛名號召更多藝術家的關注,擴大「PUNTO-龐圖國際藝術運動」的影響力。耳濡目染之下,各方思潮環環相扣,互相牽引,使東西方藝壇發展更趨成熟。

1967年蕭勤前往美國,在西方「極限藝術」的影響下,發展出一系列以明潔的金屬板為底,以烤漆或壓克力顏料創作的「硬邊系列」作品,他以直覺的方式創作,在畫面上建構象徵性的宇宙空間,並置一個足以造成既靜止又力動的生命世界。這些在蕭勤創作中看似特別的系列,他形容是發展於一種絕對的孤獨,形塑而成的絕對堅毅。因為在幾乎沒有文化和歷史縱深的美國生活,是很艱辛的考驗。在硬邊系列的作品中更能體會他一路對藝術創作的堅持。

1970年代中期後,蕭勤離開美國回到米蘭,在自我重整、思考之中,畫風轉入了「禪與氣」的階段,從絕對精準、平面的壓克力作品中,重回水墨世界,一種絕對東方且自在安逸的禪學境界,接著,在1980年代初期進入了「宇宙風景」階段,畫面中的種種呈現,如:宇宙漩渦、陣雨、混沌初開、彗星、宇宙的誕生等單元,皆呈現出一種對於宇宙聚散的體悟和詮釋。

1990年更因為意外事件的發生而失去了愛女。這嚴重的打擊幾乎讓他失去了作畫的能力。然而:在極深的痛之後頓悟出,一切的不幸、死亡,終將「重生」,在這清晰的意念產生時,他形容自己「悟」出了生命的永恆性,因而畫風轉向了一個嶄新的象界,創作了至今仍相當受藏家喜愛的系列性作品。

對蕭勤來說,人生每個不同的階段是一種『輪迴』,離開了這裡,還有另一處,像似一個圓般的是一種非時間性、物質性的境界,「度大限」「永恆的花園」「心靈的體現」「三昧地」「光明彼岸」這些系列的作品,所要傳達的意境,聽聽他如何解說:「無論我在繪畫過程中的主題如何變化,這些畫作所傳達的意境,皆是處在一種精神性、超越時間性和非物質世界的空間中,人類的精神層面,原本早就該超越肉身的存在。」

蕭勤的作品,有許多著重在人和自然、人和能量,以及生命相關的表現,然而其中的情感表達卻是處於一種較為隱性的狀態,蘊含在畫面之中。簡單、單純,是一種境界,而整個生命就是「無限的學習」。蕭勤的繪畫以畫面更為單純的方式呈現,然而,展現的力道卻更為強烈。觀者在欣賞畫作之時,從自身的生命經驗出發,切入觀看和受到啟發的層面皆各自不同,讓繪畫可以擁有各方的自我體悟,這在蕭勤的眼中,就因為大眾的觀感是如此不同,才能算是共同創造了一個完整的圓。

他亦有感於近年來大家事事學習西方,卻忘了自身深厚的祖產,這種種的偏差,使我們已失去了本有介入世界文化及領導的趨勢,而反思藝術創作。若要於繪畫中探尋生命的永恆,則必須回返著重在藝術本身,並從生命的始源探索和思考,在藝術的道路上,追求的永恆和生命的能量。

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The Side View of Hsiao Chin     By: Maggie Wu

There appears to be more often than not an element of masochism in the personality of an artist. Perhaps it is precisely this character trait that gives the artist greater sensitivity and creativity. The fine intuition of a creative artist enables him to advance ahead of his time, creating a new path for mankind and giving new inspirations to the world.

In 1989, Hsiao Chin organized an art group with Italian and Danish artists in Copenhagen, Denmark to launch the "International SHAKTI" (Chi) movement. SHAKTI is the meaning of "Spiritual Energy." After the 1st "SHAKTI" exhibition had been held in Copenhagen, there were several exhibitions held in Denmark and Italy.

"Chi - Spiritual Energy" represents the ubiquitous vitality in the universe, and the creative power of nature is the life and fountain of "Chi - Spiritual Energy". Hsiao Chin observes from the perspective of "Taoist thought emulates nature", and makes it lively and changeable in appearance and interpretation through his works of "Chi - Spiritual Energy". Therefore, "Spiritual Energy" is the theme of his solo exhibition in Lotus Art Gallery. Hsiao Chin with his paintings based on the Oriental connotation, laid a domain of his own artistic creation in the field of international art.

Now, please let us experience the paths of the artist's journey. Whether the early “Chinese Opera Character”, “Beyond the Great Threshold”, “Chi”, “Zenand “Landscape of the Universe” series, are all highly praised by the collectors.

Hsiao Chin’s entry into the art world took place in 1952, when he began to study modern painting in the studio of Li Chun-shan in Taiwan. Mr. Li employed an individualized teaching approach aimed at bringing out each student’s unique qualities. This began with the observation of each student’s different traits and encouraging them to express their individual styles in their artistic productions. It was this free pedagogical approach with respect for individuality that led Hsiao Chin to develop his earliest abstract works in the mid-1950s.

Hsiao Chin has played a significant role since the inception of the Ton-Fan Art Group in 1957 and had subsequently participated in the organization of 13 exhibitions for members of the Ton-Fan Art Group. In retrospect, the artist would physically carried around 30 paintings by various group members to different cities in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium, forming endless exchanges with audiences, art enthusiast and practitioners at large. He describes this passionate endeavor as his devotion in “carrying out a mission”. These efforts continued for 15 years until the Ton-Fan Art Group officially dissolved in December 1971 - proof beyond doubt in Hsiao Chin’s strong spirit to endure whatever it takes for things he believes in.

In Hsiao Chin’s speech at the group exhibition of abstract art entitled “Formless Form” at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2013, Hsiao commented that, “Chinese abstract art originated in Taiwan and has guided developments in China.” It is not an exaggeration that he has been acclaimed as the Father of Chinese Abstract Art.

In 1956, Hsiao Chin, was awarded with a scholarship from the Spanish government at the age of 21. The artist embarked on a journey to the other side of the world, hoping to develop an artistic career in an unknown country. However, he was disappointed by the conservative and traditional teaching methods at the art institutes in both Madrid and Barcelona and decided to relinquish his scholarship funding to learn and practice art on his own. In 1961, Hsiao Chin relocated to Italy to embark on another journey of artistic exploration, building upon his own theories on Taoist thinking and collaborating with like-minded artists and friends in Milan to launch the Punto International Art Movement. The word "Punto" is translated from the same word in Italian, meaning “point”. The manifesto’s basic viewpoint was that art should be a contemplative and introspective practice starting from individual thoughts and serve as a medium for the transmission of the human spirit. Before we talk further about this movement, we must discuss the Western art circles at the time and the changes in Hsiao Chin’s artistic thinking.

During the 1950s, “Art Informel”, a term encompassing a wide array of abstract practices, was in vogue in Europe, in parallel to Abstract Expressionism in America. However, by the end of the decade these once vibrant art movements had lost their original spiritual depth and vitality. This also reflected the consumerism sweeping across both Asian and Western societies. In Milan, Hsiao Chin met several like-minded artists, namely the Ton-Fan Art Group members Li Yuan-Chia, the Italian painter Antonio Calderara and the Japanese artist Azuma Kenjiro. They were opposed to the emotional proliferation of Art Informel and wanted to pursue a deeper level of spirituality. Their declaration posits on the notion that “Purity of concepts and reasons for creation depend on the understanding of the ‘finite’ within the ‘infinite’ and on the grasp of the reality of thought and the true meaning of life.” For them, humanity was the finite condition within the infinite universe. An artist should be a spiritual prophet for humanity and the spokesperson for its ideas. Thus, his exploration of ideas, spiritual pursuits and contemplations of life should be ahead of others. Only in this way could he communicate with others and perform his self-proclaimed duty for the evolution of the human spirit.

The Punto International Art Movement spanned across the 1960s, with artists participating from different countries. There is no doubt that it was a vital exchange platform for artists and art organizations from both East and West. Founded in Milan, the Punto International Art Movement gradually expanded to other European cities. The second Punto exhibition, held in Barcelona in 1962, was a large-scale exhibition with a total of 26 artists from 11 countries. Hsiao Chin established deep friendships with many of these artists in Europe, including Lucio Fontana, the Italian master of Spatialism, who generously lent his works to Punto exhibitions and drew attention to the movement and expanded its influence through his distinguished reputation.

In 1967, Hsiao Chin travelled to the United States. Under the influence of Western Minimalism, an extreme form of abstract art developed in the USA in the 1960s, typified by artworks composed of simple geometric shapes, he developed his “Hard Edge” series, created with acrylic paint on shiny metal plates. The artist worked intuitively, creating symbolic cosmic spaces with a “static and yet constantly dynamic” aspect in his symbolic universe. The drastic changes of Hsiao Chin’s artistic style during this stage were a direct result of him feeling a sense of spiritual stagnation due to, in his opinion, the lack of cultural-historical depth of American society - yet he persisted in his pursuit of artistic creation.

In the late 1970s, Hsiao Chin left the United States and returned to Milan. After a period of reformation and exploration, he returned to ink wash paintings from the absolute precision and flat acrylic works and progressed to the Zen”, “Chi” and “Landscape of the Universe” series. In the 1980s, Hsiao entered his mature period with the “Chi” series, his “Whirlpool of the Universe”, “Shower, “Chaotic Origin”, “Comet” and “Birth of the Universe” series which are products of the artist’s interpretations of the creation and disintegration of the universe.

In 1990, Hsiao Chin’s daughter tragically passed away. The grief caused by this heavy blow almost caused him to lose his ability to paint. However, he came to realise that death is the beginning of another stage of life. The moment this idea became clear to him, he described himself as “enlightened”. As a result, his painting style evolved to a totally new state, and he created a series of works that are highly sought after by collectors. For Hsiao Chin, every stage of life is a kind of
“Samsara”, an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. “Passage through the Great Threshold”, “Eternal Garden”, “Spiritual Expression”, “The Bright Side” and “Samadhiall resulted from this realisation. Hsiao Chin says of his work, “Whatever the change of theme in the process of my painting: the artistic conceptions conveyed in my paintings are in a spiritual, temporal and intangible space. This space has long been beyond bodily existence and instead evokes the spiritual nature of mankind.”

Many of Hsiao Chin’s works focus on humans and nature, humans and energy and depictions of life - yet his paintings also have a more hidden emotional expression. His advice to viewers when appreciating his paintings is to begin from their own life experiences. The inspirations will be different for each viewer, allowing the works to be interpreted differently. From the artist’s point of view, such a multitude of different public perceptions will work together to create a complete circle. Hsiao Chin also feels that in recent years we have learnt from the West, but during the process have neglected our own profound heritage. The artist posits that we must turn back and focus on the art itself in order to fully explore the origins of life and the pursuit of eternal life and energy in the path of art.

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蕭勤 Hsiao Chin.精神能量 Spiritual Energy

蕭勤 Hsiao Chin.精神能量 Spiritual Energy 2018.4.18-6.18 茶會 4.28(六) PM4:30